Are Compression Socks for Pregnancy Really Effective for You?
October 30 2022
Pregnancy is one of the most wholesome experiences a woman can have! The possibility of bringing new life into the world and being responsible for the care and maintenance of that new life is fascinating. Your body goes through many changes to adapt to the foetus's growing needs, especially the circulatory system because blood provides all the nutrients and oxygen to the baby!
However, with this exciting experience comes the dreaded discomfort of swollen legs because your body produces 50% more body fluids and blood than usual, resulting in swollen legs, ankles, feet, hands and face. It counts to be at least 25% of the weight women gain during pregnancy. But no matter how much we paint this extra fluid as the bad guy, it is responsible for making your body labour ready.
Pregnancy also puts extra pressure on the veins around your vagina, uterus and ovaries, resulting in venous insufficiency. We've covered everything you'd want to know about the risks and how, if it does, compression socks helps alleviate pregnancy discomfort.
What are the Risks Associated with Pregnancy?
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that women during pregnancy, at childbirth and three months after delivery are at high risk of developing blood clots in their deep veins. This condition is called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). In fact, pregnant women have five times high chances to get DVT as compared to women who are not pregnant. Why? There are several natural changes in a woman's body during pregnancy, after childbirth and the three-month mark post-delivery.
The blood flow might lower in your legs during the later stages of your pregnancy because the baby's weight presses the blood vessels around your pelvis. Moreover, during labour, a woman's blood clots easily to lessen the blood loss. Post-delivery, if you are told to take bed rest, your chances of getting DVT increase due to less mobility, limiting the blood flow in your legs and arms.
Alongside DVT, pregnant women are also at risk of developing venous distension leading to venous insufficiency, a condition where your veins cannot return blood from the extremities to your heart.
Why are Women Suseptible to DVT in Pregnancy?
Some of the factors that contribute to the increased risk of developing venous disorders during pregnancy includes:
- Pre-existing venous conditions
- Standing for an extended period
- Hereditary disposition
- Summertime heat
- Long days of activities
- High caffeine consumption
- High sodium intake
- Low potassium in your diet
What are the Symptoms of Venous Disorders in Pregnancy?
If you experience any of the below symptoms, you are likely struggling with a vein-related disorder and need to consult a doctor immediately:
- Discoloured skin
- A warm feeling around the extremities
Moreover, there are chances of blood clots forming in your pelvis and legs. These clots can break off, reach your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism. Wearing compression socks can help keep you safe from DVT and other vein-related disorders starting from your legs.
How do Copper Compression Socks Help in Pregnancy?
Varicose veins, swollen feet and ankles are the most common discomforts during pregnancy. Sometimes the swelling starts at the end of your pregnancy, worsens over time and returns to normal after delivery. Tackling these pregnancy problems is tough, but copper compression socks help curb them. They are filled with copper ions making the socks antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-odour.
Copper compression socks provide pressure on your legs and ankles, making your blood vessels work more efficiently by improving blood circulation and encouraging blood to flow back into your heart. Here's how they help you during pregnancy:
Provides Relief from Swelling
Feet swelling, also known as oedema, typically happens during the third trimester for upto 80% of pregnant women because an abnormal amount of fluid accumulates in your tissues during this period. Compression socks help edema by putting comfortable pressure on your legs and ankles, reducing swelling, soreness and inflammation.
Improves Blood Circulation and Angiogenesis
Angiogenesis refers to the development of new blood vessels. During pregnancy, your body finds it harder to circulate blood or form new blood vessels because as your uterus grows, it creates pressure on the veins.
Copper promotes angiogenesis from the existing blood vessels. Combining copper with compression socks form a great tool for treating Raynaud's disease, oedema, venous eczema, DVT, lipodermatosclerosis, varicose veins and other poor blood flow-related problems.
Makes Your Feet Feel Fresher and Lighter
Pregnancy makes your feet heavy and dull than usual. Wearing copper compression socks can help remove this feeling, making your feet feel lighter and fresher, as copper keeps our skin healthy. Moreover, it holds anti-inflammatory properties responsible for soothing aching muscles and feet.
Maintains the Heart Rate
During pregnancy, your blood volume increases, and the blood flow decreases. This increases the heart rate of the mother and the unborn baby. Copper compression socks maintains your heart rate by moving the blood from the legs back to the heart.
Prevents Varicose Veins
A varicose vein is a condition where your veins are enlarged and twisted because the valves cannot push the blood back to the heart. They let the blood pool in the veins. Compression socks helps varicose veins hug, adding pressure and keeping them active.
Copper compression socks provide the comfort of an everyday sock while adding the luxury and support of compression socks. They offer long-lasting antimicrobial protection to your health and are a practical choice for any situation. Check out an in depth guide to all the benefits of copper compression socks.
What to Consider Before Finding Your Best Maternity Compression Socks
As the name suggests, compression socks need the correct compression level. Compression is measured in mmHg and ranges from 10 to 15 (which is considered light), 15 to 20 (moderate) and up to 30 (which is regarded as difficult). Most pregnant women wear them without a prescription.
If you are in search of the correct compression level for your feet, it is suggestible to start with the 15-20 mmHg compression and move up to the 20-30 mmHg for extreme swelling. Many more compression socks are available, but your doctor will need to prescribe them. Read our post on 3 Levels of Compression – Finds Out Which One Fits You to know more.
After finding the correct compression level, search for the perfect fit. They need to be tight but not tight enough to feel uncomfortable. Lastly, look for the style. There are long compression socks and short compression socks. The knee-high ones are more effective if you have varicose veins in your thighs.
How Long Should You Wear Compression Socks for During Pregnancy?
The National Health Service(NHS) in England suggests wearing compression stockings during the day and taking them out before bed. Again, put them on first thing in the morning.
There is nothing wrong with wearing compression socks during the first trimester. You will need them more in your second and third trimesters as swelling worsens and it becomes harder for your blood to travel back to the heart.
However, if you notice the following symptoms, see your doctor immediately:
- Pain or swelling in one leg
- Skin irritation
- Change in skin colour
Are There Any Side Effects of Wearing Compression Socks?
No, compression stockings have no side effects as per NCBI, when worn correctly. They are safe for everyone in every situation; however, don't wear them if you have sensitive and easily irritated skin. To read more, checkout this article which talks more about this.
Copper Compression Socks by Copper Clothing
Copper compression socks safely increase blood circulation and rejuvenate skin health, but they are also crucial for protecting your feet and legs when you visit the hospital for regular check-ups!
If you are still deciding on what compression socks to buy, try our best-selling Long Copper Compression Socks meant to fit your legs perfectly!